I really enjoy singing, but I’ve never had any training. I studied Drama at the University of Washington. I was in a few plays in school and it always surprised me how much I sang, despite never having lessons and not being in any musicals. For Orpheus, I even wrote the song that I sang as Charon, Ferryman of the Dead.
My first experience doing karaoke was at Circus Hostel in Berlin in 2004. I sang “Man in Motion” from St. Elmo’s Fire. It was totally out of my minimal range and was a miserable experience. I said that it felt like stepping in dog shit. You feel the nasty squish and then question, “How did I not see that coming?” The people at the hostel bar thanked me, because my performance made other people feel more comfortable that they couldn’t really do worse than my red-faced act (due to lack of oxygen, not embarrassment).
Further experiences in karaoke were in Vietnam and Japan.
In Asia, karaoke isn’t a bar-wide event; it’s something you do with a group of friends in a little rented karaoke room.
1) Vietnam: I was in such a room with some Vietnamese people who sang a fairly simple song about a Vietnamese village. (Bimbo? Something like that?) It was fairly easy, so I started singing along a bit. Turned out (not very surprisingly) that it was an anti-American song from the Vietnam War. An odd song for me to be bouncing along with.
2) Japan: I went with a Bangladeshi lung surgeon and a Japanese woman. The Bangladeshi guy and I belted out duets. Great fun.
My first experience busking (performing on the street for money) was with Sarah, a girl that I was working with in Taiwan. She played guitar and backed up my singing of 4 songs. The three that I remember singing were Phantom Planet’s California, Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Leaving On A Jet Plane. It was a blast. We made enough money for a couple meals and even had one of Sarah’s former students show up and cheer us on. I always say that I would busk again.
My first time performing in a bar was in Izmir, Turkey. Ozan, my host, and I went to a bar wherein various singers and bands performed. While we were hanging out, we talked to a guy that was either an owner or manager. Ozan talked to the guy about us performing. I said sure, not thinking it would ever actually happen. That’s the only one with photographic evidence.
The shortened one is here:
So, a progression, of sorts. I imagine from here it is American Idol (as kind foreigners and delusional Americans have said I could succeed on) and stadium tours (something no one has suggested).